Some people claim that every nursery rhyme contains a kernel of truth. If this is true, Lesley is in grave danger, and she has no way of knowing it. Will she unravel the real story behind “The Scottish Bride” in time?
A memorable ghost story needs two things: a chilling backstory and a terminally isolated setting. Luckily Linden Manor fulfills both requirements so well that I didn’t want to stop reading. The creepy house Lesley visits while searching for the truth behind her favorite childhood nursery rhyme made me shudder. Sometimes beautiful locations hide ugly secrets, and the tension between these two realities is expressed wonderfully in the descriptions of the estate.
I figured out certain plot twists well in advance of when they actually occurred. All of them worked well within the plot, but given how well-written this story is I would have liked to see a few more liberties taken with certain tropes. Had it been a little more difficult to predict them this book would have easily earned a much higher rating.
With that being said, uncovering the hints about what was really going on was exciting. Only an attentive reader will pick up on the more subtle ones, and I was impressed by how much work was put into striking a balance between keeping this reader on her toes and explaining what was happening when the plot thickens. This is a strongly paced tale that I didn’t want to put down, and I’m really looking forward to reading more from Ms. Cavendish.
Linden Manor is deliciously spooky. Paranormal activity isn’t always harmless, and this novella is a great choice for anyone in the mood to explore just how dangerous it can be to wander onto the wrong property.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.